Exercise Training: Its Effectiveness On Weight Loss


Obesity is a product of energy imbalance which occurs when one consumes more energy than they burn. On a global scale, health experts see obesity as an epidemic resulting in at least 2.8 million deaths yearly due to excess weight-related complications. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stated that the prevalence of obesity was 42.4 percent of adults in the United States from 2017 to 2018.

Concerning this, health experts worldwide advocate for weight loss for people with obesity. And for years, there’s been a persistent one-size-fits-all approach to treating obesity: to adhere to a diet low in calories. Since the capacity of a person to burn calories is affected by several factors, including age, body size, and genes, the said approach may not be viable for every individual.

The widely held belief that dieting alone is sufficient for anyone looking to lose weight is called into question by a recent study published in the journal eBioMedicine. The study’s researchers offered fresh perspectives on how some obese people can lose weight and keep it off. This article will review the study’s conclusions about this novel weight loss strategy.

Determining The Effectiveness of Exercise Training for Weight Loss

Most weight loss treatments aim to induce negative energy balance and commonly focus on decreasing energy intake through medically supervised low-calorie diet programs. However, evidence suggests that the diet-focused approach may not work for everyone. 

Although health experts incorporate additional treatment strategies in some clinical weight management programs, including behavioral and exercise interventions, adherence to it is minimal, often resulting in significant variation in success. But despite controlling for compliance, variation in weight loss capacity remains.

In light of this, the researchers propose that identifying the complex variables influencing interindividual weight reduction success may aid in improving outcomes for obese people who do not respond favorably to diet-induced weight loss programs.

The research team, therefore, extracted clinical information from approximately 5,000 entries. After reviewing 228 files, the researchers selected 20 obese women to participate in a tightly supervised fitness program consisting of 18 progressive sessions utilizing treadmills and weights performed thrice per week for six weeks.

The results show that exercise selectively improves skeletal muscle metabolism and promotes weight loss capability for persons with obesity who are categorized as diet resistant using bioinformatics and machine learning methodologies to examine skeletal muscle.

Specifically, the researchers found that:

  • In obese women, the ability to lose weight quickly with diet is linked to central adiposity and a higher risk of developing metabolic syndrome before losing weight.
  • Compared to women who lose weight quickly by calorie restriction, those with a history of limited diet-induced weight loss benefit more from exercise training.
  • Despite the advantages of a diet-sensitive phenotype for weight loss, these people are more likely to develop metabolic problems from obesity.
  • Exercise increases the ability of obese people who are diet resistant to lose weight.

Further, the study’s results imply that exercise training enhances skeletal muscle bioenergetic function and body composition in obese people who do not respond well to energy restriction.

Additionally, despite the fact that diet-sensitive people would seem to be recommendable to those in a diet-resistant condition, diet-sensitive people are more prone to metabolic diseases before losing weight due to the same metabolic features that allow for rapid lipolysis and loss of visceral adipose tissue.

In sum, the study supports current guidelines for exercise and cardiometabolic health and demonstrates preferential improvements in metabolism for diet-resistant obesity with exercise training.

Since obesity has grown on an epidemic scale globally, the study’s findings can help potentially reduce its numbers by reinventing weight-loss programs so they can be tailored to fit every individual. The study also opened up new research avenues, which the researchers are gearing to fulfill.

Journal Reference

Pileggi, C. A., Blondin, D. P., Hooks, B. G., Parmar, G., Alecu, I., Patten, D. A., Cuillerier, A., O’Dwyer, C., Thrush, A. B., Fullerton, M. D., Bennett, S. A. L., Doucet, É., Haman, F., Cuperlovic-Culf, M., McPherson, R., Dent, R. R. M., & Harper, M.-E. (2022). Exercise training enhances muscle mitochondrial metabolism in diet-resistant obesity. EBioMedicine, 83, 104192. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2022.104192 

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